Why Digital Media News

Why less really is more in web design

The notion that simplicity and clarity lead to good design is not a new one. Way back in the 15th century, the great Leonardo Da Vinci described simplicity as the ultimate form of sophistication.

In today’s modern society; a world in which we are bombarded with hundreds and thousands of marketing messages on a daily basis, the mantra that 'less is more' has never been more relevant.

We know that advertising and design has to work harder than ever to cut through the noise. The problem is that some people confuse working harder with doing more, when in fact the more you put into an ad, the less people are likely to remember.

Neurologists have proved we are more receptive emotionally than rationally. And so by de-cluttering our communications we’re giving the audience the chance to engage with simple, yet powerful feelings about brands, instead of just telling them what to think. The result is messages with more impact that stay in the mind for longer.

Doyle Dern Bernbach’s iconic ad for VW from the 60’s is still a favourite of many. One word was all it took to capture the hearts and minds of a generation. Lemon. Ok so there was a few paragraphs of beautifully constructed copy underneath it, but it was the headline that sucked you in.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

This simplistic approach is often referred to as “brave”, which infers that it holds something to fear.

But what exactly are people afraid of?

The answer is bound up in our own insecurities. If simple were to be mistaken for obvious it could be quite embarrassing.

After all, no one wants their client to think they’re paying huge sums of money to someone who is merely stating the obvious. To avoid this we overcompensate by attempting to dazzle people with the complexity of our rationale.

In truth, it is actually much easier to be complex. Simple requires confidence because it is obvious. But like all works of genius, simple ideas only become obvious after they have been discovered.

So if you aspire to produce work that is still talked about 50 years later, my advice would be this: be brave, be bold, and keep it simple.